Samuel Alito, Italian Prime Minister
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Photo credit: Italy in US / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Alito’s Way: Justice says high court’s lack of ethics rules is none of Congress's business.

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Supreme Court justice, possible opinion-leaker, and part-time Wall Street Journal contributor Samuel Alito thinks he and his colleagues should be allowed to receive lavish gifts from billionaire benefactors without disclosing them. And if Congress doesn’t like it, then they can STFU.

That, essentially, is the main takeaway from an article that appeared in the paper’s opinion section Friday and was based on an interview with the right-wing justice.

Of course, things weren’t worded in exactly this way. Part of the reason for that is that the article was co-authored by an attorney who represents one of the parties in a case before the Supreme Court later this year.

Did The Wall Street Journal disclose this fact right away? Of course not. Because when it comes to giving Alito a platform, the paper seems to just love committing journalistic malpractice.

You have to read more than 2,000 words before finding out that David Rivkin Jr., who co-wrote this glowing ode to Alito, has a compelling reason to kiss a certain part of the justice’s anatomy.

It’s not the lips, mind you, because gays are icky, according to Alito (we’ll get to that in a moment).

The justice has found himself in a bit of hot water because he accepted and concealed a billionaire-funded fishing trip to Alaska aboard a private jet. That’s cool, though, because otherwise that seat would have been empty, so this isn’t an ethics problem at all, according to Alito, the guy who uses those same brilliant reasoning skills to write opinions depriving women of rights and pursuing a conservative agenda.

In any case, people who have a problem with this kind of impropriety can shove it, the justice thinks. Especially those pesky senators on the Judiciary Committee, who recently voted that the Supreme Court should adopt a code of ethics.

Alito doesn’t think so. That would just get in the way of letting right-wing sugar daddies buy him things.

In any case, that’s really none of Congress’s business.

But don’t take it from us, take it from the article co-written by the dude who needs to get on Alito’s good side because of that case later this year.

Justice Alito says he voluntarily follows disclosure statutes that apply to lower-court judges and executive-branch officials; so do the other justices. But he notes that “Congress did not create the Supreme Court” — the Constitution did. “I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it,” he says. “No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court — period.”

Well, that’s settled then. Ethics rules for lower courts apparently suck, and Supreme Court justices can do whatever they want after they receive their lifetime appointments. 

That obviously includes interpreting the Constitution in any way that takes the US back a few decades.

Alito explains why that’s also perfectly fine. You see, you have to look at the historical context to rationalize decisions that deprive today’s Americans of their constitutional rights.

The article offers the perfect example: Obergefell v. Hodges, the decision that paved the way for gay marriage throughout the US by invoking the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.

Alito dissented to that one because “it’s perfectly clear that nobody in 1868 thought that the 14th Amendment was going to protect the right to same-sex marriage,” according to the article co-authored by that guy with the massive conflict of interest.

Really, Samuel?

Then do guns! Do you really think that the Founding Fathers envisioned weapons that can easily be used to kill dozens of people in seconds? Was it their intention that thousands of Americans would be killed by guns every year?

Because that seems somewhat unlikely.

But it’s really not about intellectual consistency, it’s about ramming a right-wing ideology down the throats of Americans… and getting stuff from rich people, of course.


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

Comments are closed.